TAPDINTO-STEM students posing for a photo

We have many committed and passionate partners that help support the work of NSF INCLUDES Alliance TAPDINTO-STEM, and are linked through the associated regional hubs.

The NSF INCLUDES Alliance TAPDINTO-STEM PI and Co-PIs for the NSF award 2025270 are listed below.

Overtoun Jenda

Dr. Overtoun Jenda
Auburn University | Principal Investigator

Assistant Provost for Special Projects and Initiatives,
Professor of Mathematics
(334) 844-4672

Dr. Overtoun Jenda serves as Assistant Provost for Special Projects and Initiatives and Professor of Mathematics at Auburn University. He previously served as Associate Provost for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Associate Dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn University.

Prior to coming to Auburn, Dr. Jenda was a faculty member at the University of Kentucky, University of Botswana, and University of Malawi. Dr. Jenda received a PhD and MA in Mathematics from the University of Kentucky and a BS in Mathematics (with Distinction) from the University of Malawi. His area of research is Homological Algebra, and he has published three graduate and research level books and numerous research articles in this area. He has also published several research articles in STEM Education.

Dr. Jenda has been the Principal Investigator and Project Director for numerous US National Science Foundation grants focusing on STEM education, including the US-Africa Collaborative Research Network in Mathematical Sciences and Masamu Program, Research Experience for Undergraduates in Algebra and Discrete Mathematics, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, Alabama Alliance for Students with Disabilities in STEM,  INCLUDES South East Alliance for Persons with Disabilities in STEM, MAKERS Scholarships in STEM, GK-12 Fellows in Science and Mathematics for East Alabama Schools, Alabama Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, and the LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate program.

The idea of US-Africa Collaborative Research Network in Mathematical Sciences and Masamu Program was mooted at the 2009 SAMSA conference held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania when Dr. Jenda was invited to the conference as a keynote speaker in Algebra. Dr. Jenda has been directing the annual Masamu Advanced Study Institute (MASI) and Workshops since 2011.

David Shannon photo

Dr. David Shannon
Auburn University | Co-Principal Investigator

Professor, Educational Foundations Leadership, & Technology

Dr. David Shannon is a Humana-Germany-Sherman Distinguished Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology.  He joined the faculty after receiving his Ph.D. in Educational Research Methodology and Statistics from the University of Virginia in 1990.

Dr. Shannon teaches graduate courses in measurement, evaluation, and statistics. Dr. Shannon’s areas of research include student and teacher assessment, teacher effectiveness, and research methodology issues. He is the Past-President for the Eastern Educational Research Association (EERA). He also serves as North American Regional Co-Editor for Educational Research and Evaluation.

Dr. Shannon has published four textbooks pertaining to educational assessment, quantitative analysis and using statistical software. In addition, he has published over 50 refereed articles in journals such as the Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Educational and Psychological Measurement, Journal of Experimental Education, Journal of Educational Research and the Journal of Higher Education and over 75 presentations at regional and national venues. Furthermore, he has served as an evaluation coordinator or PI for projects funded for over $150 million, managing evaluation budgets for these projects totaling approximately $5 million. These projects include his role as the evaluation coordinator for the $100 million South Florida Annenberg Challenge, US Department of Education projects (e.g., Teaching American History), NSF-funded projects (e.g., Math/Science Partnerships (MSP), GK12 Fellows, RDE-STEM, and CCLI) and statewide evaluation projects with the Alabama State Department of Education.

Daniela Marghitu portrait

Dr. Daniela Marghitu
Auburn University | Co-Principal Investigator

Daniela Marghitu portraitComputer Science and Software Engineering

Dr. Daniela Marghitu received her B.S. in Automation and Computing from Polytechnic University of Bucharest, and her Ph.D. degree in Automation and Computing from University of Craiova.

She is a faculty member in the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Auburn University, where she has wHer teaching experience includes a variety of Information Technology and Computing courses (e.g., Object-Oriented Programming for Engineers and Scientists, Introduction to Computing for Engineers and Scientists, Network Programming with HTML and Java, Web Development and Design Foundations with HTML 5.0, CSS3.0 and JavaScript, Personal Computer Applications, Spreadsheet-Based Applications with Visual BASIC, Web Application Development).

Her research areas include STEM K12 Inclusive Computing Research and Outreach; Web Applications Design and Development; Education and Assistive Technology; Software Engineering; Web and Software Engineering Usability and Accessibility.

Dr. Marghitu has received funding for research and education projects from National Science Foundation (e.g. Co-PI of NSF EEC “RFE Design and Development: Framing Engineering as Community Activism for Values-Driven Engineering”; Co-PI of NSF CISE “EAGER: An Accessible Coding Curriculum for Engaging Underserved Students with Special Needs in Afterschool Programs”; co-PI of NSF INCLUDES: South East Alliance for Persons with Disabilities in STEM, Co-PI of NSF CE 21 Collaborative Research: Planning Grant: Computer Science for All (CS4ALL)).

Dr. Marghitu was also PI of grants from Center for Woman in Information Technology, Daniel F. Breeden Endowment for Faculty Enhancement, AccessComputing Alliance, Computer Science Collaboration Project, Microsoft Fuse Research, Altova Co., and Pearson. Dr. Marghitu has mentored over one thousand high schools, computing undergraduate, graduate students including representatives of underserved/underrepresented communities, women, and people with disabilities.

Among Dr. Marghitu’s honors and awards are the following: 2011 AccessComputing Capacity Building Award, the 2012 Auburn University Access award, the 2012 Society for Design and Process Science Outstanding Achievement Award, the 2013 Microsoft Fuse Research award, the 2015 DO-IT Trailblazer award, the 2017 International Academy, Research, and Industry Association Fellowship, the 2017 Society for Design and Process Science Fellowship, and the 2019 Samuel Ginn College of Engineering 100+ Women Strong Leadership in Diversity Faculty Award.

Carl Pettis

Dr. Carl Pettis
Alabama State University | Co-Principal Investigator

Provost for Academic Affairs

Dr. Carl S. Pettis is a proud alumnus of Alabama State University (ASU). Dr. Pettis was awarded the Bachelor of Science degree (2001 Major – mathematics and minor –   computer science) and the Master of Science degree (2003 Mathematics) from ASU. Dr. Pettis received his doctorate degree in mathematics from Auburn University in 2006. He was the first graduate of the Alabama Bridge to the Doctorate Program. He has since published a number of research articles in the area of Design Theory. Dr. Pettis currently serves as the Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He is also a professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at ASU.

Additionally, Dr. Pettis is the principal investigator for three National Science Foundation initiatives at ASU, namely the Greater Alabama Black Belt Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GABBR-LSAMP), INCLUDES and a Targeted Infusion Project for Big Data Analytics.  He also serves as the director for several federally funded K-12 educational activities such as the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI), the UNITE Program, the Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program, and the Institute for Mathematics, Science, Engineering, and Technology (IMSET).

Whenever he is asked, what made you choose to return to ASU, Pettis simply responds, “Where else but the place that helped to shape and mold me into the man that I am today would I choose as my professional oasis, a place that will allow me to shape and mold the lives of others”.

portrait of brittany mccullough

Dr. Brittany McCullough
Auburn University | Co-Principal Investigator

Program Analyst
(334) 844-7419

Dr. Brittany McCullough is the Program Analyst for the Office of Special Projects and Initiatives. As the Analyst for the office, Brittany is responsible for assisting in planning and implementing special projects and initiatives, developing data collection systems and tools, maintaining databases and other records to measure and report on programs, providing quantitative and qualitative data related to the office’s initiatives, and preparing and presenting technical reports, publications, and presentations. She is also an instructor in Auburn University’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Brittany received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics (summa cum laude) from Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky, a Master of Probability and Statistics degree from Auburn University, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from Auburn University with a focus in Educational Research Methods and Analysis.

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TAPDINTO-STEM students walking